You have just adopted a new pet into the home, now comes the tricky adjustment period. We have a few tricks to make your house a safe forever home for your new fur babies.
A Warm Welcome to a New Home
When bringing a new pet home, there are a few things we recommend doing to prepare your home for the new arrival. Much like prepping your home for a new baby, we recommend going through your house and pet-proofing. That means getting on all fours and crawling at pet height on the hunt for anything that could hurt your new addition.
There are some choices you need to make when pet-proofing your home:
- Are you going to allow your pets on the furniture?
- Would you like to keep a space pet-free?
- Where will your pets sleep?
- What kind of pet are you adopting?
We can form an idea of what you should be doing to set your home up for your new pet with these fundamental questions.
We believe that a home should be safe and pet friendly before bringing a new pet home. If you are the kind to allow your pets to roam freely and sleep on your furniture, consider installing ramps (check out Chasing Tails) or something to help your pets safely climb on and off of beds and sofas.
If you have stairs in your home, consider a safety gate at each end and a non-slip ramp. Accidental falls, while you are at work or away, can be prevented with proper planning. Some dog breeds need support to climb onto furniture due to genetic conditions such as hip dysplasia or elongated spines.
Settling Your New Dog and Cat in
When it comes to the first introduction to your home, you should take special care to ensure your pet has everything they might need. The early few days should be about settling in and familiarizing themselves with their new home. The best way for pets to adjust to their new environment is to live in it. Dogs will want to explore the garden and house.
Cats are naturally a little more reserved than dogs. They will take a bit longer to come out of their shells while they explore their new territory. Try not to let your cats outdoors for the first two weeks of joining your family. Try keeping them cordoned off to one room in the house and gradually introducing them to more rooms as their comfort grows.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Adjusting to a new home is not just as simply introducing your family to the animal. Many new family members will be excited at the idea of a new animal. Make sure you give your furkid space and try not to bombard them all at once. This is needed to make the transition easier.
It might take a few days for your newest family member to acclimatize to your environment. Too much excitement and events can cause stress and take a little longer for your pet to feel comfortable and settle in. The trick is to allow them space to explore their new home. It will be very different from the shelter. Once your pet has settled in, you should be able to arrange pet training if required.
Try helping your dog adjust to their new environment by taking them out to explore the garden area as soon as you get home. Try taking your new dog out every hour or so to ensure they know where to potty. We always encourage new pet owners to reward their dogs when they do the right thing positively.
It would be best if you had one litter tray per cat; cats need to learn how to use the litter box from an early age. Their litter box has to be cleaned daily as cats are clean creatures. They will not want to poop in a dirty litterbox.
Food Glorious Food
When transitioning your pet into your family home, food and water should be a consideration. Your animals should have access to fresh, clean water at all times. Ask for additional food from the shelter or breeder to wean your new furkid onto a new brand.
Here are some tips and tricks for feeding your new additions:
For Rescue Dogs: If you have adopted a rescue, food might be a sensitive issue for your pet. Some dogs tend to guzzle food down, especially in a new environment. Some dogs will benefit from enrichment feeding toys; these toys help stop them from gulping food down.
We have also seen the benefits of splitting a dog’s meal up over the day. When a dog feels safe and knows that their meal will arrive every day at the same time, they will learn to eat slowly and just the right amount. Some dogs overeat at meals out of fear.
For Puppies: Puppies tend to guzzle food down at any chance. Much like some toddlers! Feeding your new pup the right amount spread out over the day is an easy way to ensure your pet is not hungry or overeating. Your puppy will benefit from learning to have a healthy relationship with food.
Once a healthy relationship with food has been established, you can slowly reduce the number of meals fed per day to two meals at the same time every day.
For Cats: When adopting a cat, it is advisable to establish a routine. Overweight cats can benefit from regular mealtimes of controlled portions. Keep your cat’s litter box away from their feeding station.
There Is No Place Like a Cozy Bed
Think about it, when you have had a long day, you often want to race home, get comfortable and crawl into bed. The same goes for your pet. After adoption, they also want a place to call home with a warm bed. Dogs and cats also need a time-out from time to time.
We highly recommend placing a comfortable bed in a place where your pet is least likely to be disturbed by other members of the family. Even if your pet sleeps in your bed, a comfy spot to rest of their own is needed.
Kitty Escapes: Cat nests or little cat grottos are great places for them to escape when feeling overwhelmed. Cats are solitary creatures that often need their own space to relax in. Even the most friendly and loving cats require personal space from time to time. Some cats love the carrier they came home in!
Dog Palaces: There is nothing more peaceful than watching babies or dogs sleep. When you bring your dog home, it will help them get used to your home if they have somewhere they can call their own. Bedding should be washable and easy to clean for your sanity as well as hygiene reasons.
Soft blankets in winter help your dog feel welcome and comfortable in your home. Some dogs prefer a crate with soft bedding and a toy or two in. We recommend leaving the door open and talking to a specialist before crate training your dog.
Endless Love Will Help Your Dog
All shelter animals want and need in life is a forever home with endless love. Helping them settle in is a process of creating trust and showing love. Animals are part of the family from the minute they walk through the front door. Be sure to give your furkids love, affection, and treats: they will settle in in no time.